Wednesday, May 10, 2006

MOM'S SAGA, first installment

I should have taken before-and-after pictures. I'll do that next time.

Rode my bike 15 miles to my mother's (a lot of hills and v-e-r-y rolling roads), ate lunch with her, spent 4 hours cleaning and sorting her stuff, and rode home. 2 hours of biking, 30 miles, and started on one of my summer projects: cleaning up Mom's house.

What did I do in 4 hours of working? Cleaned out a food cupboard and cleaned off a coffee table. Yup. Took 4 hours. The food cupboard... mostly throwing out. There were spices in there she had brought from Florida when she moved here in 1990. The coffee table.... there were music books, sheet music, and miscellany 18 inches high all over it. I sorted it into piano music, violin music, cello music, a folder of music manuscript, and catalogs. I threw out many music catalogs from 1994 on. I washed the plexiglass top of the table and cleaned the whole table with Pledge. Oh, yeah, I forgot, worked on getting the cat hair out of one of her sofas. I got a lot but there's a lot still there.

We were going to build a house this summer, on our son's property, for Mom to move into so she'd be right next door to them and they could check on her and help her out. But the financing fell through, and Mom is staying where she is for now. It's just as well...I didn't feel like building a house this summer anyway, and Mom likes her current house. She has afternoon music students Monday through Wednesday, so on those days she has people coming in. However, Thursday through Sunday, no one comes. She could fall and not be found. So we were thinking of hiring someone, doing interviews, etc., and then I remembered, "Isn't there a girl about middle-school age living next door to her?" There is. She's 14. Today I talked to her dad.... would she like a job? Visiting my mother briefly twice a day to make sure she's safe, and doing light housework a few hours a week? For at least minimum wage? She could keep a time sheet and record what work was done, and that would give her experience with self-scheduling and recordkeeping at a job. The dad said she might do it and he'd ask her about it.

Well, after I got home, I called my mom to let her know I hadn't been killed on the bike en route, and she said the neighbor girl had been to see her already, all excited, and had already made herself a timesheet on the computer. She's rarin' to start. I haven't met this girl yet but she apparently comes to see Mom already, now and then, just to chit-chat. Mom likes her. So all of a sudden I don't feel so awful about leaving the area again in September. Steve and I will have a talk with her about what's expected and what's not, make sure she's one to honor commitments (I think her dad would make sure she did but from what I hear, she does.)

I remember this girl's mother from way back. I was substitute-teaching at the high school during seniors' finals week, and I remember the principal telling me to keep an eye on a particular girl because she'd been out of school the last few weeks, pregnant, had had the baby just a day or two ago, and apparently wasn't feeling well, but was coming in to take her finals so she could graduate. Wow. She was thin, and pale, with circles under her eyes, and stringy hair, looked exhausted, had probably gotten out of the hospital that very day, and dragged herself in to take finals.

I have a feeling they've taught their daughter to be responsible.


Jack said...

Sounds like you got lucky with the "girl next door". If she already stops to see your mom that is a good sign I would say.

Rachel said...

You're a very warm and loving person to care for your family the way you do. My parents have looked after their parents in the same manner. I think (hopefully) that mentality gets passed down, generation to generation so our elders are always respected and cared for.

Deb said...

What a deal! Hopefully she realizes the opportunity she's been given as well. I've was a caregiver for years with my husband, and understand what it can be like to worry about providing care and living your life. Tough stuff and we get through it. I will keep you all in my prayers for a long happy partnership! ;)
Happy Mothers Day to YOU!

Kewl Nitrox said...

So great that you managed to find your mom the perfect help!

Your mother's place sounds a lot like my parent's place - except I probably won't live past the week if I cleaned out their stuff. :D

Fe-lady said...

Great to hear that your mom has a new friend to check on her. Both will benefit from the visits, no doubt! spice cupboard sounds like your mom's. I guess I know what MY sumer project is going to be (or at least one of them!)